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Hit and Run in MA-- What to Do?

The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
edited January 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I got a somewhat shaken call from a friend on New Years Eve who, as she explained, was the victim of a hit and run auto accident. From her description, she was traveling in the left lane of a highway when a car going 90-95mph tried to squeeze between her and the car in front of her. This driver then, in her words, must have realized he was going to hit the car in front of my friend and broke hard causing my friend to veer off into the guardrail and cause some significant damage to her car. The other car just sped away, quickly. It may be important to note that she hit the back of the other car, but I can't imagine that she would be at fault. Her car still runs, but is somewhat damaged. There were no witnesses.

I advised her to file a police report and to contact her insurance, but I'm uncertain what the correct path of action would be and my google-fu has, so far, failed me.

When I had a chance to check up on her yesterday, she told me that the police didn't even take a statement because she didn't know the plate number of the other vehicle. She has also been afraid to tell her insurance because she believes that 1) she doesn't have collision, and 2) that her premium would go up (or other costs).

Does anyone know what would happen, here? If she goes to her insurance, is there a chance she would see a hiked premium or other cost? I was under the general impression that as it was a hit and run, there would be no counter-claim and therefore it would be almost guaranteed that she was not found at fault. I suspect that it would be more complex than this.

The Crowing One on
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Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Filing a police report and following up with her insurance is what she should do. Can she afford to pay for the repairs out of pocket? I think uninsured coverage is what she should be looking at, rather than collision. Since I think hit-and-runs usually fall under that and I think they're required to have that in the policy.

    I don't think you'll take an increase in premium for reporting it, even with collision since it was hit-and-run.

  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    That was my general impression, as well, Bowen.

    The police refused to take a report on the grounds that she didn't see the licence plate on the other car (and how could she, as it was night and the other guy was going 90+mph). I was a little confused by the police not taking the report, as I was under the impression that even if it didn't actually lead to anything, they would take the report to have it on file.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah that is a bit weird. Luckily I think the uninsured/underinsured coverage is the only one that pretty much doesn't require a police report. She should talk to her rep though, I'd be hesitant to not report it because that stuff will count towards the deductible. If it were $50 in repairs or something that's one thing, but the way you're describing it it would seem like at least a few hundred in repairs.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Since there's going to be no hit and run report then if she files a claim for this it'll likely be her fault or a hit by an "uninsured driver." If she doens't have any uninsured driver protection on her policy she'll have to file it as a collision claim (her "fault").

    There's always the possibility the guy she hit will file a claim against her, but the details of this are skecthy. Seems unlikely the other guy would have sufficient info to file a police report and probably doesn't have her license plate number. So I'd think it unlikely she'd get hit with a claim from him.

    If I were her I'd try to get it reported to the police. If a report doesn't occur I'd call my own insurance, give them a description of what ocurred, and then NOT file a claim. Get the damage fixed on my own dime. Her concerns seem largely that (1) it won't be covered or (2) her rates would go up if the company did pay out a claim. She can find out the answer to (1) just by calling her insurance. Then she can decide if she wants to file a claim, cause if she has collision she'll be coverred, but chances are good insurance will consider it a single vehicle accident where she's at fault, in which case her rates are likely to go up (though that's not guaranteed, I've file such a claim and my rates weren't affected).

    If the police deemed it hit-and-run that would change things (I think), but since they aren't getting involved I'd think the insurance company would consider this a single vehicle accident hitting a stationary object (about as "at fault" as you can get).

    Sans police report, there's no way for the insurance company to know that this is hit and run.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah I would keep trying to report it until the police gave up and took the report. It seems odd that they wouldn't take a report of a hit-and-run because you didn't catch the plate. What do they just ignore some guy on a bicycle because he was hit and never caught the plate?

    Just tell them you need a police report for your insurance to classify it as hit and run.

  • BoomShakeBoomShake Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm a little confused. Did he clip your friend on the way in, or was the collision solely based on him breaking once in the lane and your friend not being able to stop in time? If it's the latter, at least in New Jersey, it would be considered entirely her fault.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Someone more local might have more accurate info, but if you were in Illinois I could tell you that you need to fill out an accident report if the damage exceeds $1500. The body work for a car that smacked into a guard rail can add up pretty quick, so I don't know why the cop refused to fill out a report - maybe he was just lazy and didn't want to do paper work.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Someone more local might have more accurate info, but if you were in Illinois I could tell you that you need to fill out an accident report if the damage exceeds $1500. The body work for a car that smacked into a guard rail can add up pretty quick, so I don't know why the cop refused to fill out a report - maybe he was just lazy and didn't want to do paper work.

    That's what I'm thinking. Or sexist, but I'll give the cop the benefit of the doubt.

    Also, did she hit that other car, like, they exchanged insurance information? That's incredibly important I'd imagine if both will admit to the hit-and-run driver.

  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    BoomShake wrote: »
    I'm a little confused. Did he clip your friend on the way in, or was the collision solely based on him breaking once in the lane and your friend not being able to stop in time? If it's the latter, at least in New Jersey, it would be considered entirely her fault.

    Everything was, to my understanding (and my friend is far from a bad/fast driver), concerned with a "weaving in-and-out" move in which the lane change and accident occurred at the same time. I.e. that the lane change was in-progress and unsafe from the get-go (the other driver avoided an accident with the car in front by having an accident with the car in back) and that the accident was a direct result of this "other guy" trying to squeeze between two cars that he should have known better than to try to "squeeze between".

    My friend also expressed emphatically that the other driver must have been drunk based on the stupid lane change and the driving away. I haven't said as much because it probably doesn't matter as nothing is provable.

    To my understanding, again, it was a lane change to hard braking to hit and run in which no part was separate from the other.

    bowen wrote: »
    Also, did she hit that other car, like, they exchanged insurance information? That's incredibly important I'd imagine if both will admit to the hit-and-run driver.

    As I said, the other car didn't stop. It went speeding off as soon as the accident occurred. She was left on the side of the road with significant damage and no sight of the other driver.

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  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I don't think this actually classifies as a hit and run. It sounds like your friend got cut off.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah that's tricky. Technically she'd be at fault for not giving enough following distance to account for it, though I don't know the absolute specifics of the damage.

    Any idea on how much in damages you're looking at TCO?

  • Ashaman42Ashaman42 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah that's tricky. Technically she'd be at fault for not giving enough following distance to account for it, though I don't know the absolute specifics of the damage.

    Any idea on how much in damages you're looking at TCO?

    I wouldn't have thought she'd been at fault for not giving enough distance if someone swung in and braked at the same time.

  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Is she certain she hit the other car? Was the damage to her car indicative of that, or could it just be from the guardrail?

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  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    She hit the other car. I think that was clear.

    To the description I was given, she had 1.5-2.0 car lengths in-between her and the car she was following. The "other car" swung in, broke sharply and caused a collision which drove her into the guardrail.

    The main factor was speed: that the other car was going 20+mph faster than anyone around it and when attempted to compensate and weave-in-and-out it was both 1) highly erratic and 2) caused an immense disturbance to the flow of traffic such that caused a collision and further accident.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ashaman42 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah that's tricky. Technically she'd be at fault for not giving enough following distance to account for it, though I don't know the absolute specifics of the damage.

    Any idea on how much in damages you're looking at TCO?

    I wouldn't have thought she'd been at fault for not giving enough distance if someone swung in and braked at the same time.

    Laws are really dumb sometimes.

  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    She hit the other car. I think that was clear.

    To the description I was given, she had 1.5-2.0 car lengths in-between her and the car she was following. The "other car" swung in, broke sharply and caused a collision which drove her into the guardrail.

    The main factor was speed: that the other car was going 20+mph faster than anyone around it and when attempted to compensate and weave-in-and-out it was both 1) highly erratic and 2) caused an immense disturbance to the flow of traffic such that caused a collision and further accident.

    How fast was your friend going, because 1.5-2.0 car lengths is way too close for speeds of 65MPH+.

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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    To play devil's advocate, 1.5-2 car lengths is nowhere near the recommended amount of space for 60mph driving. The driver of the other car was clearly not aware of the situation, but if she had left sufficient space he wouldn't have needed to slam his brakes.

    The details vary from state-to-state, but people should be aware that the rear-ender is always at a disadvantage when fault is being determined.

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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    bowen wrote: »
    Ashaman42 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah that's tricky. Technically she'd be at fault for not giving enough following distance to account for it, though I don't know the absolute specifics of the damage.

    Any idea on how much in damages you're looking at TCO?

    I wouldn't have thought she'd been at fault for not giving enough distance if someone swung in and braked at the same time.

    Laws are really dumb sometimes.

    Well and in a lot of states 1.5-2 car lengths is not an appropriate distance. If he was doing 90mph and that was 20mph faster than the nearby cars they were speeding as well on the highway where 1.5-2 car lengths is definitely not far enough back to get out of responsibility for rear ending. In a lot of places it's one car length per 10mph, so on a highway you're looking at 5-6 car lengths before you can claim you weren't following too closely to stop.

  • Ashaman42Ashaman42 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    bowen wrote: »
    Ashaman42 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah that's tricky. Technically she'd be at fault for not giving enough following distance to account for it, though I don't know the absolute specifics of the damage.

    Any idea on how much in damages you're looking at TCO?

    I wouldn't have thought she'd been at fault for not giving enough distance if someone swung in and braked at the same time.

    Laws are really dumb sometimes.

    Very true but I'm pretty sure I read an article a while ago about people not being found at fault in such cases (admittedly I'm in the UK, however fault in these cases isn't so much a law matter as a lawyer/insurance agent matter).

    There was a spate of cases of people causing accidents similar to the above in order to make fraudulent insurance claims for whiplash and the like.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    admanb wrote: »
    To play devil's advocate, 1.5-2 car lengths is nowhere near the recommended amount of space for 60mph driving. The driver of the other car was clearly not aware of the situation, but if she had left sufficient space he wouldn't have needed to slam his brakes.

    The details vary from state-to-state, but people should be aware that the rear-ender is always at a disadvantage when fault is being determined.

    She didn't rear end anybody.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Sounds like she rear-ended the car in front of her that had the other person cut in front of them. Alternatively, I am very tired and am misreading it and apologize.

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    She hit the speeding car and she can say he cut her off but she was still following the car in front of her prior to being cut off way too closely and that can bite her in the ass.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    kaliyama wrote: »
    admanb wrote: »
    To play devil's advocate, 1.5-2 car lengths is nowhere near the recommended amount of space for 60mph driving. The driver of the other car was clearly not aware of the situation, but if she had left sufficient space he wouldn't have needed to slam his brakes.

    The details vary from state-to-state, but people should be aware that the rear-ender is always at a disadvantage when fault is being determined.

    She didn't rear end anybody.

    I'm not sure what you're arguing. She hit a car that was in front of her.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Does she have UIM (un-/under-insured motorist) coverage?

    If not, all of this is a moot point, and reporting the accident would be an incredibly stupid thing to do, that is only going to cause her rates to go up, since they won't cover the accident, and it may go on her record as an "at-fault."

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    In MA she should, I think it's required.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    If MA is anything like Illinois, if she's not going to report the accident to her insurance, then it would be bad to try and get a police report. In Illinois, insurance companies will be in the loop when a police report is filed on a car accident and if the insured doesn't report it to the insurance company within a certain amount of time (I believe the window is like a few days) the insurance company can max out your rates or even drop you.

  • NPNP Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Massachussetts is a keep-right, pass-left by law state, so it's definitely going to work against her that someone was able to overtake her on the right side (thus implying she wasn't actually passing anyone) since she was driving in the left lane.

  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm still trying to suss out what happened here.

    But isn't everything except that the other driver was in a collision and then sped away without a moment's thought the only thing that really matters? I understand the specifics, but the point remains that regardless of what happened, there are both no witnesses nor any representative from the other vehicle. I'm merely suggesting that the other party gave up their right to defend themselves by speeding off and it would be doubtful any any motorist in this situation would present the case as anything but reckless driving?

    I'm also uncertain, by her description, which lane she was in (I think it was left), but the whole thing was caused by someone traveling at dangerous speeds trying to weave in-and-out of the flow of traffic. I.e. that the left lane was passing the middle lane, and this other driver decided to by-pass the entire flow of traffic.

    Thanatos, I think, made the best point and my friend is still working on figuring all that out. There is a distinct cost/benefit at work here.

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  • MidshipmanMidshipman Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Unless I missed it, it would be very helpful to know what state this all occured in as the insurance coverage and at fault laws can vary widely.

    In California for example, having un/under-insured motorist coverage wouldn't apply to this situation. That coverage only matters if you actually get a hold of the person at fault and they don't have any/enough insurance to cover your damages. If you get hit and ran on and never locate the guilty party, then your insurance will only cover you through a collision policy (but shouldn't raise your rates).

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  • BoomShakeBoomShake Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Midshipman wrote: »
    Unless I missed it, it would be very helpful to know what state this all occured in as the insurance coverage and at fault laws can vary widely.

    Check the thread title: "Hit and Run in MA"

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    But isn't everything except that the other driver was in a collision and then sped away without a moment's thought the only thing that really matters? I understand the specifics, but the point remains that regardless of what happened, there are both no witnesses nor any representative from the other vehicle. I'm merely suggesting that the other party gave up their right to defend themselves by speeding off and it would be doubtful any any motorist in this situation would present the case as anything but reckless driving?

    In Michigan at least, this isn't how it works. Leaving the scene of an accident is a separate crime, usually a misdemeanor but I think it's upgraded to a felony if personal injury or a pedestrian is involved. It does not change whether you were at fault for the accident itself, and while it can cause the police to decide you're more at fault than the other driver in questionable cases, it never wipes out faults of the other drivers - violating a drive right/pass left law, following too close, or speeding (Nobody's mentioned this, but if a car going 90 had reason to think he'd fit in such a close space between two other cars, it really doesn't sound like those cars weren't under the limit either).

    It's a bit worse in this situation - with the other driver impossible to identify, all we have is that a driver was following too close, possibly in violation of a pass left law, potentially speeding, and an accident resulted. I'm going to go with what others have said and say that if they make a point of this incident, it's only going to work against them.

    My uncle was recently in an accident where the other driver was determined to be 100% at fault - rear ended him at a stop sign. Both cars were fairly heavy trucks and in bad shape to begin with, neither one took any appreciable damage, my uncle left.

    The other driver assumed just what you are: That he left, so he's at fault. Called the police, got himself a nice ticket for running a stop sign, following too close, and an at-fault collision, and his insurance ended up paying for quite a bit of rear end repair on my uncle's truck that probably wasn't all from the accident. I imagine his rates spiked pretty hard, too. My uncle got a fine that was later dropped.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Hevach wrote: »
    In Michigan at least, this isn't how it works. Leaving the scene of an accident is a separate crime, usually a misdemeanor but I think it's upgraded to a felony if personal injury or a pedestrian is involved. It does not change whether you were at fault for the accident itself, and while it can cause the police to decide you're more at fault than the other driver in questionable cases, it never wipes out faults of the other drivers - violating a drive right/pass left law, following too close, or speeding (Nobody's mentioned this, but if a car going 90 had reason to think he'd fit in such a close space between two other cars, it really doesn't sound like those cars weren't under the limit either).

    Well, if we go with the facts as described, we have a car going 90mph squeezing into a 1.5-2 car length space between two cars going 65-70mph and slamming the breaks hard enough to drop at least 30mph before hitting the car in front of it. While drunk.

    So we can probably assume the facts as presented have suffered from a combination of exaggeration and the telephone effect.

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  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    admanb wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    In Michigan at least, this isn't how it works. Leaving the scene of an accident is a separate crime, usually a misdemeanor but I think it's upgraded to a felony if personal injury or a pedestrian is involved. It does not change whether you were at fault for the accident itself, and while it can cause the police to decide you're more at fault than the other driver in questionable cases, it never wipes out faults of the other drivers - violating a drive right/pass left law, following too close, or speeding (Nobody's mentioned this, but if a car going 90 had reason to think he'd fit in such a close space between two other cars, it really doesn't sound like those cars weren't under the limit either).

    Well, if we go with the facts as described, we have a car going 90mph squeezing into a 1.5-2 car length space between two cars going 65-70mph and slamming the breaks hard enough to drop at least 30mph before hitting the car in front of it. While drunk.

    So we can probably assume the facts as presented have suffered from a combination of exaggeration and the telephone effect.

    I'll clarify the best I can that "going 90mph" is a reference to the car in question coming from behind and then beginning to weave in and out of traffic to "get ahead".

    I did clarify that the distance between was about 2-3 car lengths, though she isn't totally certain. It was large enough (and I've spent countless hours driving with this person) that it wasn't "out of the ordinary" being too close.

    The car that hit my friend weaved into the spot, trying to get past a car that was in the middle lane, slammed his breaks when he realized he was approaching the car in front too fast which caused the rear-end collision with my friend. This all happened fluidly, i.e. weave into brake into accident in a matter of a few moments.

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  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    2-3 may not seem out of the ordinary... until an accident happens. My area has some of the most lax close following laws I know of and 3 car lengths is pushing it on rural roads at 55-60 and illegal on the freeway at 70, where the law explicitly requires the space to be sufficient for another car to safely insert itself.

    Following too close in a lot of counties is a violation that's rarely enforced on it's own, to the point that tailgaters trying to sand the paint off your rear bumper aren't just being assholes, they're unaware its a ticketable primary offense. But when an accident happens, it'll bite you in the ass fast.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You're technically supposed to report all accidents per your agreement with your insurance company, even ones where you are clearly not at fault. However, this policy can screw you over as you may not care enough to get the damage fixed, and you'd (likely in this case) get dinged with a rate increase. Or in some cases, your insurance company can decide you suck b/c you are unlucky and drop you/raise your rates. My mom had two pretty bad accidents that we not her fault (tree fell on her car, car hit her when she was parked and not even in the car), then she got into a fender bender, and got dropped.

    However, and i'm speculating here b/c i don't know that this has ever happened, if you fail to report an accident, and then have a legit accident later on that you do have to report. The insurance company may have grounds to deny your claim when the adjuster sees previous damage. IANAL or an insurance agent, so this may never happen. As shady as insurance folk are, i can definitely see them trrying that.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Particulars vary by individual experience and insurance provider, but generally they have no reason to increase your rates unless they pay out a claim (meaning having you as a customer cost them more money than they expected), though there are "organic" rate increases (across the board for all insurees, or for a region, or for a class of driver) and I think they can base rate increases should your credit worthiness deteriorate.

    Personally I contact my insurance agent (I use state farm) and report any incident in which I'm not at fault or if I might get claimed against. There've been probably 8-10 times where I've been in an "accident" where there was no significant damage and both parties agreed to not file claim (very low speed rear-ending). In that situation I go ahead and take down the license plate number of the other guy and report the incident to my agent, to safeguard against the other guy coming out of nowhere and making a claim against me. Never had an auto rate increase unless I got a new or more expensive car, and I've been in a single vehicle accident, hitting a stationary object, causing significant damage to my car, and it was totally my fault. Caveat: I probably average 1 claim every 5 years (outside of windshield chips), I have been using the same insurance for 17 years, carry high protection, and have 2 other lines of insurance with the same provider (and agent).

    If you report the accident to insurance and end up fixing it out of pocket, then it's unlikely they are going to increase your rates becuase of that accident.

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I see a lot of misinformation here which is cluttering up the advice. I think DJeet really understands the situation, however.

    For starters, the left lane is not the "fast" lane, nor is it even the "passing" lane in some areas. If you are driving the speed limit and you are in the left-most lane, you are fine. The law by itself does not give any provision for what to do if a car wants to overtake you so it can BREAK THE LAW by driving above the speed limit! I know it annoys speedy drivers everywhere to be behind a 65 mph vehicle in the left lane in a 65 mph zone, but tough. Slow the heck down.

    In terms of what will happen: In Massachusetts there is a robust partial fault system, so she is in luck to some degree. With no witnesses, it may be hard to give 100% fault to either party, so the partial fault system will come in handy.

    Partial law says that even if she was following the other car too closely, the fact that a car:
    1. illegally passed on the right, exceeding the speed limit
    2. came in front of her car without proper distance & then braked hard
    3. left the scene after causing a crash

    should give it AT LEAST 60% or more of the fault. I'd even guess the car might be found at 100% fault, because the accident simply would not have happened if they were not there.

    She should talk to her insurance company. Some insurance companies even allow a certain number of claims over time with NO premium increase if the driver has a clean record & is otherwise safe.

  • UsagiUsagi Feminazgul ~*special snowflake*~Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Sorry Streever but you're incorrect, it is actually the law in many states (including MA, see general statute 89-4B) that the driver shall drive right unless passing

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    ^(Edit: streever) That.

    That's why she should be talking to her insurance company first and foremost. If she gets screwed and has to pay out of pocket, okay, well, she can change insurance companies and deal with one that cares in the future.

    Has she bothered to even call them, or, has she checked her policy for underinsured/uninsured coverage? I think thanatos and I both chimed in on that's the specific policy she should be looking for and shouldn't be involved with a rate hike.

    Who caused it isn't really the problem, it's mainly that they left the scene of the accident.

    Edit:

    I think in this case MA is one of the few that really doesn't have a "Stay right/pass left" law. Double Edit: Nevermind they do, still, regardless, she should be looking for an underinsured/uninsured policy and stay in touch with the insurance about it. The insurance can do whatever after the fact, for all they know she was in the right hand lane and all she has to admit is that someone swerved into her lane and cut her off and she braked and hit them and they fled the scene.

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    streever wrote: »
    I see a lot of misinformation here which is cluttering up the advice. I think DJeet really understands the situation, however.

    For starters, the left lane is not the "fast" lane, nor is it even the "passing" lane in some areas. If you are driving the speed limit and you are in the left-most lane, you are fine. The law by itself does not give any provision for what to do if a car wants to overtake you so it can BREAK THE LAW by driving above the speed limit! I know it annoys speedy drivers everywhere to be behind a 65 mph vehicle in the left lane in a 65 mph zone, but tough. Slow the heck down.

    In terms of what will happen: In Massachusetts there is a robust partial fault system, so she is in luck to some degree. With no witnesses, it may be hard to give 100% fault to either party, so the partial fault system will come in handy.

    Partial law says that even if she was following the other car too closely, the fact that a car:
    1. illegally passed on the right, exceeding the speed limit
    2. came in front of her car without proper distance & then braked hard
    3. left the scene after causing a crash

    should give it AT LEAST 60% or more of the fault. I'd even guess the car might be found at 100% fault, because the accident simply would not have happened if they were not there.

    She should talk to her insurance company. Some insurance companies even allow a certain number of claims over time with NO premium increase if the driver has a clean record & is otherwise safe.

    Key statement is some areas: we don't know what the law was on this particular road. Talking to the insurance company is the best option still.

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